Does your child think in terms like this? If so, Houston, we have a problem!

  • Smart vs. Dumb
  • Success vs. Failure
  • Cool vs. Uncool
  • Somebody vs. Nobody

The problem with these terms is that many children believe that you either fit into one category or the other. This is evidence of faulty thinking or having a fixed mindset. Faulty thinking will have you living in a world of dichotomies. (either-or)

So here’s the question: “If you’re someone when successful, then who are you when unsuccessful?” Can you see the trap? Children who think like this can also feel defeated when seeing someone else succeed at something they failed at. They will always find ways to make excuses as to why they did not succeed and will look for someone else to blame.

  • “I didn’t study because you [Mom] didn’t tell me to.”
  • “She gets A’s because her parents buy her everything.”
  • “I would have made the winning shot if the kid from the other team wasn’t looking at me so much.”

However, children with a more functional thinking pattern (or what is also termed growth mindset) push through difficult situations even though they feel overwhelmed.

When a person is in a state of functional thinking, they believe that effort is more important than just being naturally good at something. For example, any person can learn to draw if they put forth the effort. Just because other people might be better, does not mean only those individuals have the right to be good at it. There is room for all who are interested.

Children with functional thinking patterns see failure as motivation, while the opposite is true for those with faulty thinking or fixed mindsets.

The goal here to to help our children take charge of challenging situations and apply the right thinking pattern to overcome that challenge.

Here’s a quick tip to get started: Help your child set a short-term goal and when they reach it, celebrate the small wins. Keep doing this over and over while praising them for the effort and time spent to achieve success and even learn from failures along the way.

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